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Thread: Using the Yeast Cake Left in the Primary

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    51

    Using the Yeast Cake Left in the Primary

    I have read several of the threads here dealing with re-using the yeast cake that develops in the bottom of the primary for the next batch of beer and have decided to do it with a just brewed IPA and a to-be-brewed Holiday spiced ale in a couple of weeks - both are 5 gallon batches and both use the California Ale yeast that I just pitched (from a starter) into the IPA.

    Two questions:

    - Anyone ever worry about the krausen ring left in the primary and any impact it might have on the next batch?

    - Any issues with there being too much yeast if I simply dump the new wort on top of the existing cake? i.e., should I remove some of the existing (using a properly sanitized scoop of course).

    The plan is to rack the existing IPA into the secondary to be dry hopped while the wort for the Holiday Ale is being cooled and simply draining the wort from the kettle onto the cake left in the primary.

    Thanks for any input / experiences.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    6,440
    I so this routinely and have never had any issues. A normal sequence would be ESB, porter, then robust porter or dry stout, oatmeal stout, imperial stout. I will do 3 beers without ever opening the fermenter. The biggest issue is temp control because racking wort onto a huge pile of yeast will make the fermentation go ballistic if you can't keep the internal temperature under control.
    It's always time for a beer

    On tap:Crabapple Brett Blonde, Cherry Brett Blonde, Rye Stout,Sour Porter,Oatmeal Stout, Amarillo Wheat, Saison, ESB
    Primary:Pecan Smoked Roggenbier
    Bottled:2006 crabapple cider,Cherry Brett,Black Braggot,2 Prickly Pear Meads(1996 and 2006),Sour Pumpkin
    Lagering: Pecan Rauchbock
    Secondary: apple cider vinegar
    Next: Porter/Vanilla Bourbon Porter,

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    3,695
    Don't worry about the krausen ring at all. The only two reasons to worry about yeast/trub buildup are if it's going to use up too much of the airspace at the top of the fermenter, forcing the krausen out the airlock/blowoff tube, or if it's been in there a long time (>8 weeks or so). For two batches made within 2-3 weeks of each other, no problem at all.
    On deck: a clone of Carolina Beer Co's Rye Stout, clone of Breckenridge's Vanilla Porter,
    Primary: Schwarzbier
    Secondary: Dortmunder, Hopweizen
    Keg Conditioning: Dunkelweizen, Roggenbier, Okto, Ord. Bitter
    On tap: Alt, Hefeweizen, Cigar City Maduro clone, Mild
    Bottled: Mead, Quad Rajet, Granola Bar Braggot

    Too much of everything is just enough.
    - J. Garcia

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    1,984
    And make sure you have a blow off hose set up ready to go.
    On Tap:
    Bottled:
    Kegged: Founders KBS Clone Brewed in '09 - might not be good anymore
    Primary:
    Secondary:
    Next brew: Not sure yet...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    51
    Thanks guys.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mikegobrew View Post
    And make sure you have a blow off hose set up ready to go.
    Even with using a bucket as the primary?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    3,695
    Simple bucket blowoff: use the same stopper as for your airlock. Cut a piece about 3" long from your racking cane, insert in stopper. get a chunk of racking hose about 18" long, stick it on the other end of the ranking cane piece. put the other end of the hose into a pint glass with 2-3" of water in the bottom set on the other side of the bucket top from the airlock hole. HTH
    On deck: a clone of Carolina Beer Co's Rye Stout, clone of Breckenridge's Vanilla Porter,
    Primary: Schwarzbier
    Secondary: Dortmunder, Hopweizen
    Keg Conditioning: Dunkelweizen, Roggenbier, Okto, Ord. Bitter
    On tap: Alt, Hefeweizen, Cigar City Maduro clone, Mild
    Bottled: Mead, Quad Rajet, Granola Bar Braggot

    Too much of everything is just enough.
    - J. Garcia

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    51
    Thanks for all the advice. As explained and expected, fermentation took off within an hour and a half of pitching onto the yeast cake (shortest lag I've ever experienced) - and that was after removing about 1/2 (with all sanitation taken into account). By sometime Monday, the water in the airlock was "dirtied" with krausen and wort and still churning away. I cleaned it out last night, added fresh sanitized water to the airlock and the activity has reduced nicely.

    I imagine if I hadn't removed half the yeast I would very likely have needed to put together the blow off setup.

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